Miguel Torres, 31, has been a mixed martial arts fighter for more than ten years now.
He began his career fighting locally in Chicago, Indiana in unsanctioned fights before seeking out training with a member of the legendary Gracie family, which took him to Brazil.
With his trademark mullet and never say die fighting style Torres took World Extreme Cagefighting by storm becoming the WEC bantamweight champion.
When the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s parent company Zuffa purchased the WEC it folded its smaller divisions over to the UFC and with it Torres.
Torres has prided himself on representing his culture and working class background.
Recently Torres found himself in trouble for Tweeting an inappropriate off color joke about a “rape van” that he heard on a television show. The UFC released him only to bring him back as he made amends for his hasty decision and took responsibility for his actions.
I spoke to Miguel Torres a few days ago…
[For the full interview listen to the audio below]
Fox News Latino: The “Blackzillians” (a new MMA camp based out of Florida) have become the hottest thing out there in MMA. You just got [Alistair] Overeem (a UFC heavyweight) to sign on with you guys… What made you join up with the “Blackzillians,” how’s your experience been with them?
Miguel Torres: Well the biggest thing when I signed up with them, I met Glenn Robinson and he approached me, he’s my manager and he runs the “Blackzillians.” He approached me; he told me what he had to offer and how he could help me out in my career. I don’t trust very many people but from the moment I met him I knew I could trust him and he’d take me where I needed to go… Some of the best fighters in the world train there, some of the best coaches in the world and I felt it was a perfect fit for me.
FNL: You just signed back up with the UFC, you had an issue. You quoted a TV show that made an inappropriate joke about rape. You put it up and then you tried to make amends, they let you go. You just signed back with them; they felt you really tried to make up [for what happened]. How did that affect you as a person?
Torres: It just showed me that my words are powerful and I got to watch what I say. I didn’t realize how much of a following I have and I didn’t really think that me saying anything, that anyone would really care about it. And it caused me to grow up real fast and realize that I have to be careful about what I say and what I do.
FNL: What is your take on the whole Twitter situation? Are you more careful now, do you still like Twitter or is it something you try avoid?
Torres: I’m on Twitter because my sponsors or fans want me to be on Twitter but if it weren’t for my sponsors or fans I would not be on Twitter or Facebook. I have very little privacy in my life. Twitter is a great tool for social media to interact with fans for people to know what you’re doing. People are interested to know what you’re about but it’s very intrusive in my life.
FNL: I understood you just got back from Mexico…
Torres: I’ve been there around eight times in the past two years just doing P.R. for the UFC… MMA is a big thing in Mexico right now, it’s an emerging sport. They’re looking to expand the market that way which is a perfect fit.
FNL: You’re really proud of your Mexican heritage… You wear it on your sleeve.
Torres: I was raised by my parents with certain core values that are carried all the way back to my hometowns in Mexico. My father is a hard working man and I grew up and I was raised with a certain culture. I’m an American first but I am proud of my heritage as is a lot of people.
FNL: With fans that aren’t Latino [do you get any backlash for wearing the Mexican flag colors], do you care?
Torres: I don’t really care, I am who I am. Growing up I was put down when I was in the States for being of Mexican descent, so I wasn’t considered American. When I went to Mexico to visit my family I wasn’t considered Mexican I was considered American. Basically I was a kid with no country. I was in the middle I was Latino, Norteño or whatever they want to call it. I was stuck in the middle. I was Chicano; there were a lot of words for it. But I know who I am I know where I come from; I know what my values are.
For the full interview which includes Torres talking about Overeem joining the “Blackzillians,” what Dana White told him when he rehired him, and his title shot hopes see below.